Creating Waves of Awareness
Doctors Should Enjoy Poetry And Fine Arts
FOR EXPANSION OF SENSIBILITIES & SPIRITUAL EDIFICATION
[Doctors should have a sweet-tooth for fine arts, literature and poetry. They thus fortify their sensibilities and enlarge their canvas of compassion. Pathology (the knowledge of pathology) you have got to the brim, now get pathos to soften the soul and whet the aesthesia and humanize the sensibilities.
Poetry is great means of purifying the spirit and expanding one’s sensibilities. It consists of the pithiest experiential knowledge, impregnated with wisdom and insight. Couplets (or verses) are the outbursts of the moments of revelation and spiritual trance, coming as a whole, wearing the garb of words, which have their own special meaning and context.
So, doctors should not read poetry, but live poetry, and imbibe its spirit to elevate their sensibilities from pathology to pathos, from the sickness to sufferings of mankind.
I’m indebted to Debby Bruck, a ubiquitous soul organizing the affairs of HWC, and a pillar of strength for the bloggers. She dedicatedly works on the blogs to give them proper shape and illustrations. This article I’ve written for an English literature site; but I thought why not my fraternity of homeopaths on HWC should take pleasure of reading it. Since I’m solely for the HWC, so, why another aspect of my mine should remain concealed from my friends.
Adam was a poet of my youth. He was a poet of my youthful passions. But on reading him after some forty years, I find him ripe and rich in wisdom, comparable to any classical poet of Persian and Urdu. Every couplet of his poetry is seeped in ripe knowledge and spiritual maturity. --MAU]
ABDUL HAMEED ADAM
A POET OF EXCEPTIONAL SENSIBILITIES
Dr. M. A. Usmani
'Abdul Hameed Adam is one of the greatest Urdu poets of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent. He is destined to be the most voluminously quotable poet, in the Urdu world. Born in June 1909, and died in March 1981; his major part of life was spent at Lahore.
He is quite an individualistic poet who cannot be easily compared with anyone. Usually the critics try to compare and sometimes equate him with many of his contemporaries, or with poets of not distant past. Their comparison is superficial.
Adam is a poet of Ghazal, a genre in Urdu poetry, in which every couplet has its own subject matter, which comes to the poet in one flash of intuition, or inspiration, or revelation. The first couplet is called Matla‘, and the last Maqta‘; the latter usually contains the pen-name of the poet. Most great poets in Urdu (even in Persian) are Ghazal poets (‘Ghazal-go’); and Adam is one among the greatest few. His couplets are seldom concocted. They are the outbursts of moments of intuitions springing forth from subconscious or unconscious, under the intoxicating influence of the liquor. So his poetry is not composed, but revealed; (except that part of his poetry which he composed under economic compulsion or duress, from the publishers). There is no conscious effort on Adam’s part, in the formation and syntax of the couplet.
The outcome, that is, his poetry, is superb, with its novel diction and innovative metaphors and similes. He gave new ideas and new similes, un-thought of before in Urdu literature, or in whole literature of Urdu and Persian. Similes and metaphors, we know, sprout forth from the peculiarity and richness of experience and knowledge of the poet. E.g.:
i.e. The spring season sails away like the fading of colors of toys.
i.e. The adolescence is like the hot summer season, bursting with heat and soaked in perspiration.
i.e. Her bewitching pandiculation, O’Allah, o’Allah; the marble is trying to fly, as if.
i.e. The heart is burning, as a petal of flower may be on fire.
Such examples of odd and novel similes can be adduced ad infinitum. There are many other distinguishing features of Adam’s poetry, which the space does not allow.
Adams also wrote poems which have the same vigor and freshness which is the hallmark of what is Adam. One such collection is entitled, Dehaan-i-Zakhm. There are almost 47 collections of Adam’s Ghazals. (Detail will be given at the end).
As Ghazals conventionally have amative and bacchanalian contents (though, after Adam, they can have socio-spiritual subjects, too), we’ll begin with the venerable Bacchus, as Adam’s poetry and inspiration springs from him.
THE REALM OF BACCHUS (But transcending Bacchus)
Abdul Hameed Adam was a learned person with intimate knowledge of religion, and was educated in the normal way. He was a denizen of the world of Gnosis, and came to this world through inebriation. It is into this realm to which a mystic alights after so much affliction and efforts. Psychedelics, like psilocybin, mescaline, cannabis, etc., also give you a peep into this realm. Aldous Huxley (in his Doors of Perception) gives a detailed account of this experience under the spell of Mescaline. But the effects of these psychedelics are episodic and time-limited. A poet, on the other hand, wants to remain under the spell of intoxication, or ecstasy, permanently. As the great poet Ghalib says:
i.e. Who does want reveling from the wine? A sort of permanent intoxication, or self-forgetfulness, instead, is my seeking.
Same was the problem with Adam. He wanted to remain drunk (intoxicated) permanently.
i.e. If I lose my wits and senses in inebriation, I would prefer not to ever come out of that beatific state.
In fact, Adam says that his whole poetry is the outcome of his inebriation.
Merey she‘ ron ka majra mat pooch,
Ye nady do rukhon se behti hei,
Ek misra‘ shaoor likhta hei,
Ek misra‘ sharab kehti hei.
i.e. My poetry flows in two streams, in that, one line of my couplet is composed by my intellect, and the other springs forth from my inebriation. Loosely meaning that his verses are the outburst of intuitional visions, springing forth from the sub-, and unconscious, under the influence of intoxication of wine, and given the garb of words and syntax by the intellect.
In his whole professional life Adam remained inebriate. So much so, one can say, that his whole poetry was created when he was drunk. And, moreover, according to him every poet, to be a poet, of any denomination or distinction, must drink; and if any good poet happens to be not drinking, ‘he must be imbibing the poetry of Adam’. According to him the wine is the only source of inspiration for true and immortal poetry. Liquor or intoxication, according to him, is an essential proviso or source for gnosis or revelation. The window to the sub- or unconscious mind can never be opened without shutting or subduing the conscious mind. About the Conscious Mind, with all its ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, and all its socio-religious censures, he says:
Ik umr ma’siat ko samajhta raha hoon aib
Ik umr zindigi se gurezaan raha hoon men
i.e. ‘For a good span of life, I had been taking sin as vile; and, for that span of life I had been living away from the real stream of life; or, I felt as if I were not living.’ Again he says:
‘No intellectual people can ever know that a wine-bar (or the Pub) is the place where secrets of life and nature lay divulged’. He says that he has spent his whole life in the pub, in spite of thousands promises to the contrary. ‘In the dark venues of life, light only can come from the pub’. And ‘books cannot provide the light that comes through a cup of wine’.
So, for Adam wine is a source of transcendental knowledge, as Mescaline (or peyote), Hash and other psychedelics, with the meaning of extra-sensory, but not distorted. For him, wine or liquor takes him to the deeper understanding of the universe. He says:
‘As the barperson (Saaqi) goes on offering cups of wine, (one after the other),
So does my awakening go on deepening by-and-by.
‘Don’t think that I’m dead drunk; nay, my senses always remain awake’.
RELIGION AND FAITH
Religion is the universal source of human exploitation, treachery and hypocrisy. Most great philosophers and writers of literature and poets have been exposing the treacherous ways of clergy and the priests, especially in the Persian and Urdu literature and poetry. The poetry of these two languages is rich in exposing the demonic ways of the priest and mullah and the sheikh. Adam says:
phhir dekh Sheikh khulti hain kya kya haqeeqten,
Saaghir pe daal ek nazar eitbar ki. (Khrabaat)
i.e. ‘Then will you be able to experience O’ Sheikh, the heights of knowledge and the depths of insight of the truth, only when you cast even a fleeting look of trust on the cup of wine.’
About religion he says:
Ab waqt her lihaaz se insaan ka waqt he (Jinse Giran)
The days of Ormuzd (or Jehova, or Holy-Spirit) and Ahriman or Mephistopheles are no more; the present now definitely belongs to man.
Agar seekh lein guftagoo ka karina.
O’ Adam all respects for the clergy and the priest, only if they learn to talk in a civilized way.
Jo büt marey dil me khuda afreen hei?
How, o’ Adam, can I throw out that idol from my heart,
The idol that created in me the feel of God?
Magar tu ik bar aur bigra to phhir bata ham kahan rehinge.
After once throwing us out of the paradise, now again you are enticing us for the same; But if you once again fell in the tantrum of anger, then tell us where would we go?
In his great book, Khrabaat, he says in a quartet:
ADAM ON MYSTICISM, Mystical Experience
Adam says: hai tasavvuf bhi khrabat ki cchoti si sifat;
Raasta ye bhi suey bazm-i-mughaan jaata hei. (Shehr-i-Khooban)
i.e. Mysticism is a facet of the Bacchanals;
This path also takes you to the pub or the tavern-keeper, (the Saaqi).
This is an explanation of mystical experience, when, in the embrace, with the beloved, there emerges one being, oneness, without distinction of bodies and their physical properties.
i.e. The instant the morning dew met the sun, there remained neither the yearning for the embrace nor the embrace itself.
Destination vs. Journey
This is a permanent subject in mysticism. Mystics have realized that the mystic search is an unending journey of quest and inquiry, with burning curiosity, rather than reaching a particular destination, and staying at that. As the mystic seeks that which is undiscoverable, viz., God or the Ultimate reality, he has become enamored of the bewitchment of the path than the destination. The idea of destination has become drab for him. As the Poet of the East, Iqbal says:
Luzzat-i-sair ast maqsood-i-safar;
Gar nigah ba aashian dary mapar.
i.e. It is the enjoyment of wandering, that is the purpose of (the mystic’s) journey;
If you still keep your gaze fixed on your nest, don’t ever try to fly.
Zindigi juz lazzat-i-parwaz neest;
Aashian ba fitrat-i-oo saaz neest.
i.e. Life is nothing except the enjoyment of flying;
‘nest-building’ is not in its veins.
Now let’s come to Adam, and see the beauty of his ideas and expression:
Sirf ek shouq sirf ik lagan,
Or sarmaya-i-hayat kia hei? (Aab-i-Rawan)
i.e. ‘A passionate love and abiding involvement, what else is the meaning of life?’
bhoolta jaata hei manzil ka khyal;
raaste ka husn daamin geer hei. (Ibid)
i.e. The enchantment of the way, or path of the journey have so consumed us that we have totally become oblivion of the destination. Again:
kiyun na yunhi jhoomty lehron me lehrate rehain;
nao ka sahil to hoga, shouq ka sahil nahin. (Ibid)
i.e. Why should we not go on bouncing with turbulent waves of the ocean, for there can be a shore to the yacht, but no shore to the zest for roving.
In his poem entitled Gajar, he says:
Rukta nehin hei kisi ke liye karvavn-i-waqt;
Manzil hei justuju ki na koi maqam hei.
i.e. Time’s procession never ceases for anybody;
There is no destination, nor a terminus for the inquirer or the seeker.
Love of Beauty
Love of beauty is a major and essential part of the psyche of a poet. A poet tries to find beauty in every form and everywhere. Adam has his own novel ways to express it.
i.e. The mirror gleans beauty from your countenance;
Have you ever wondered how awfully handsome you look!
i.e. How could I ever be able to dislodge that idol from my heart,
The idol that created the feel of God in my heart.
i.e. My heart is not arrogant and proud without reason;
It’s the abode of a beautiful one.
He finds beauty in even sober or aggrieved circumstances. E.g.:
i.e. The palish countenance, weepy eyes and unkempt hair;
There is no telling how beautiful she looked.
SENSUOUSNESS & SENSUALITY
Every great poet, to be a poet, must have sensuality and erotic sensibility of beauty. Adam does not lag behind. He is an accomplished connoisseur of amorous beauty of the physique, especially the female torso. Few examples will suffice:
i.e. Ever since I witnessed the beauty of the voluptuous contours of your body, I’m announcing, in the world of idolatry, the evidence of the masterly craftsmanship of the Creator (God).
i.e. O’God, what a resplendent body of yours!
It reminds me of the moment of creation, (when the luminescence came into being).
i.e. So that the Adam’s worship may not remain inconclusive (ungratified), lay bare, before his eyes, your body’s beauty for a moment.
i.e. Your naked body is clad in its natural luminescence;
So, don’t ever think that you are naked.
i.e. Read with engrossment and meditate on every line and every curve of that body; O’Adam don’t skip through (as you do a book).
i.e. A fresh arrow has been shot from the bow of Creation,
See a blooming dame of the land of the five rivers (i.e. Punjab) is coming,
She is wearing an amulet around her marble neck, fearing,
That some wayfarer may not put his lips on the milk-channels.
The blooming youthfulness is again aiming at to exhibit her full charms by uncovering the piercing contours of her body.
I have said in the beginning that Adam was destined to be the most quotable poet. Quotable poetry is that which is seeped in worldly experience, and the poet is adept at presenting worldly wisdom in a beautiful style and simple syntax. He should be using every mode of expression, from the matter-of-fact expression to the satirical, humorous, punning, witty and eloquent. So it is these qualities of the poet and his poetry that makes him quotable. Adam has expressed and laid bare the tactical, shrewd and hypocritical ways and manners of the worldly-wise people, and the so-called religious and pious persons.
i.e. The gardeners have done a great feat: there is not a single flower in the whole garden. And
i.e. In the baskets of flower-vendors, there are blood-smeared spears, and no flowers.
i.e. The veracity of a statement depends on its efficacy (to resolve a social conflict), (in this way) even lies become treasures of truth.
i.e. Even death doesn’t come in time, life is so treacherous.
i.e. It will detract from your prestige, o’man don’t (try to) be human. (To be human is so degrading nowadays).
i.e. Wherever there is crime, it is un-rectifiable, because every crime is begotten of a (dire) need.
‘The prey is he who is caught, but every person is a hunter when opportunity comes to him.’
i.e. It is but natural, to be a slave of ones desires
‘Why should we not die for our wishes; for these snakes we have fed ourselves.’
Referring to the disarray, cruelty, and injustice in the present society, he says:
Teri khudai ka her pehloo; Yarab! Insaan dekh raha hei;
Yun zindah hein jaisay koi, khuaab-i-pareshaan dekh rehey hein.
i.e. Your system of dealing with the world, o’ God, men are witnessing;
They are living as if they are witnessing a nightmare.
Gulon ke dill men utar ker bhi dekh ik lamha;
Gulon ki shakl se andaza-e-bahar na kar.
i.e. Try to descend to the heart of the flowers, don’t judge their felicity from their bloom.
Ik zara si baat ka ham kia Karen shikwa Adam:
Pyar se bijli giry or ashiana jal gia.
Why should we complain for such an insignificant happening; ‘With love the lightning struck, and our nest became ashes.’
Very few people might have suspected that Adam had a fetish. Long, black and shining locks on the head of his beloved or a beautiful woman were his failing. ‘Zulfein’, ‘gaisu’ ‘kakulein’ ‘siah baal’ ‘kaali ghataien’ , ete. were the terms he used to describes his beloved’s hair.
He who has not witnessed the site of you, with long black locks; how can he ever know the realm of blissful luminescence?
It is a feast for the eyes to witnessing the sacred darkness of your locks.
i.e. Spread your locks, let the people come to know, that darkness is more alluring than the moon-lit night.
There are countless couplets depicting the enchantment of long, black and lustrous locks of beautiful women, so much so that one feels that Adam equates and likens the locks with the beautiful women. Women can mean beautiful locks; and lustrous black locks can mean a charming damsel. In a beautiful couplet he tells us with what ingredients the Jannah (the scriptural ‘Paradise’) is made or built of:
i.e. A star (meaning a luminescence without heat); a flower (meaning garden); a drop of wine (meaning provision of wine); and a zulf ( locks, which denote a beautiful woman);
‘When all these things come together, paradise is built.’
Adam is a lovable personality; whosoever reads him falls in love with him, with a lot of respect and awe of his gigantic stature. Throughout the centuries of Urdu poetry, he is among the very few. He himself says:
Ba’ad sadiyon ke goonjty hei jo; admiat ki wo azaan hoon mein.
i.e. ‘I am that voice of mankind, that resounds once in centuries.’’
We should give Adam his due. He should be given full recognition. His birth and death anniversaries should be befittingly celebrated, on national level. His poetry should be properly compiled and sorted and organized.
Adam’s vision as a poet is incomparable. He has deep insight into life and nature. He is essentially a mystic poet. His mystic views are well-founded. His mystic insight is in the tradition of Bulleh Shah. But his mentor is not a mystic person or a sufi. His mysticism flows from his exuberant inebriation. His vision is essentially Bacchantic. For him a keg of wine is a keg of gnosis. According to him only the spirits can take a person to the realm of gnosis. And once landed there, no one wants to come back to his mundane senses again. A fine point which Adam wants to bring home is that the intoxication that comes through wine cannot solely be the effect of wine; it is also the ecstasy of the realization of gnosis. He says:
Bekhudi men nasha kahaan itna; aagahi ka saroor hei Saaqi.
It cannot be the simple intoxication of the spirits; it is coupled with the beatification of gnosis. And that gnosis does not come through books:
Kitabon se ye shai naheen haath lagti; Pialon mein loh- qalam dekhtey hein.
‘You can’t get this gnosis through reading of books; we see the celestial script in the cup of wine.’
Between the mundane world and the realm of gnosis, the gateway is through wine. He says:
Hae zeast ik baseet khila, jiss ke us taraf; Phoolon ke takht per hei surahi dhary hui.
‘Life is a big expanse, at the other side of which; a cask of wine is placed on the throne of flowers.’ So, for stepping into the territory of gnosis, from this mundane world, you must first do ablution from the casket of wine. Then, only then, the vistas of that realm will be opened to you.
LIST OF THE COMPILATIONS OF HIS POETRY
1-Naqsh-e-Dawam: 1934 2-Zulf-e-Pareshan: 1950 3-Khrabat: 19
4-Qaul-o-Qaratr: 1955 5-Saz-o-Sadaf: 1955 6-Qasr-e-Sheren
7-Shehr-e-Farhad: 1956 8-Gardish-e-Jam: 1957 9-Rim-e-Ahu 1957
10-Bat-e-Mae: 1957 11-Sher-e-Khooban 1957 12-Daastan-e-Heer
13-Nok-e-Zubaan: 1959 14-Kham-e-Abru: 1959 15-Aab-e-Zam Zam
16-Bagh-o-Bahar 1959 17-Do Jam: 1960 18-Dard-oDarman
19-Barbat-o-Jaam: 1962 20-Baal-e-Huma: 1964 21-Nisab-e-Dil: 1964
22-Nishan-e-Rah: 1970 23-Aab-e-Zar: 1971 24-Zikr-e-Yar: 1972
25-Aab-e-Rawan: 1972 26-Jhoot Such: 1972 27-Rusva-i-Naqab
28-Jins-e-Giran: 1974 29-Khumkada: 1975 30-Beht-e-Moti 1975
31-Dastoor-e-Wafa: 1975 32-Chara-e-Dard 1975 33-Joo-e-Sheer:1976
34-Dolat-e-Bedar:1976 35-Chak-e-Parahan 1977 36-Dard-e-Muhabat
THE YEARS OF THE FOLLOWING NOT DETERMINED:
37-Pech-o-Kham 38-Sarvo Saman 39-Aks-e-Jam
40-Nigar Khana 41-Gulnar 42-Sundar Bun
43-Maktab-e-Ishq 44-Rang-o-Ahan 45-Zakat-e-Husn
[This list was taken from: Abdul Hameed Adam, Shakhsiat and Fun]